The first outcome of doing this step fully is that you are creating a list of preferred behaviours. This works in a similar manner to the Evening Review and Abilii exercises. Athletes do this kind of thing all the time nowadays as they review past performances and visualise how to improve them in the future. Thus doing this will improve your performance in life situations in the future which may resemble those which turned out less well in the past.
The second possible benefit is that if you have a strong Inner Critic subpersonality, it will tend to emerge here and tell you what you "should" have done. Letting it have full play now can prevent it getting up and acting as if it is the Higher Self later in the process. When you bring in the perspective of the Higher Self later, in Steps Eight, Nine and Ten, you may often feel the gradual shift into a wiser and more compassionate perspective from that you will initially achieve in this step. You will be learning to distinguish between the harsher voice of the Inner Critic and the more loving inner voice of the Soul. Gradually you will be restrain destructure inner voices of self-criticism, and retrain your Inner Critic to function with greater love and wisdom in its task of helping you to meet the basic need for approval. In the early days of working with this process, I found that it could happen from time to time that a person's Inner Critic or Judge subpersonality would impersonate the Higher Self, wrecking the forgiveness process until the forgiver could disidentify from it. Since including Step Five, this has tended to happen only extremely rarely.
|"As I look back now, I realise that I would have preferred to have believed, (thought, said, or done) the following...."|
Into the spaces you left between each item, for EACH of your previous statements insert whatever would have been the preferred most wise, loving, or skilful behaviour, carried out with inner strength. Make sure that these statements are positive pictures, free of elements of judgmental criticism. Make sure that your description is of behaviour which could be visualised by any one. Make sure that your description describes behaviour that could be witnessed by a third person, and that they could know when it had been done. The idea is that if you can provide a description like that it will be making a"movie" in your own mind's eye which is positive and will serve you better in the future.
"Instead of wishing them harm or telling others bad things about them, I would have preferred that I had maintained love and goodwill towards....y...by doing ..z.. by which I mean that I would have wanted the best for them in their careers, looked for the good and the good potential in them, and also honoured this by telling other people about the good in them at the meeting",
or: "Instead of believing I was weak, ugly and worthless, I would have preferred to have believed that I was a worthwhile person and that there is a source of inner strength, love and beauty within me. Acting upon this belief I would have not felt personally attacked by ...x... and the others at the meeting, nor would I have backed down. I would have been been able to stand my ground there in support of the values which were important, namely that the full truth be investigated and that we treat ...y... fairly."
Are you ready for the next step? If so go on to SF Step Six - Affirmation of Intention to forgive and heal the past
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